Jeff Spec, like many independent emcees is frequently overlooked. Why? Simple, there's an overwhelming amount of material out there, and unless you're clearly exposed to something. It's hard to stand out. Like most artists I respect (I know one or two), Jeff was serious about getting his name and product out "there." He sorted out his own promotion and did his best to get the chance he deserved. Now, more often that none, I find the persistent emcees to be the lesser talents. So with Jeff's persistence I was a mixture between hopeful and apprehensive. I'm pleased to say that I had no reason for that apprehension.
'Dark City' the first time you listen to it all the way through, is smooth. Jeff has a very easy to follow flow. His enunciation is clear, and rhyme scheme works in a perfect fashion. The only thing which didn't really mesh well with my ears were the hooks. Initially the majority of them, simply chanted, didn't work for me. However, some grew on me after more listens.
Jeff produces the majority of the album with contributing aids from fellow City Planners (his group) members, and does a fitting job. The beats don't feature a million dat tracks combined together making your speakers confused and rattle beyond control. But, the simply concocted beats featuring nicely constructed drum patterns and loops perform their job nicely beneath Jeff's vocal material. 'The Sound' has such a relaxed beat that you can't help but partially grin. 'Something Tells Me,' the title track, and 'The Gamble' feature very well placed samples, making me favour those beats above the others.
The album features a mixture of subject matters, along with some "basic" rap tracks with unclear subjects. 'Dark City' talks about Jeff's efforts to get his name known in Vancouver. 'Taking Things Over,' along with Birdapres, Jeff goes on about objectives and character. 'The Look Of This,' with Moka Only seems to just be Jeff and Moka enjoying themselves. Relaxing rhyming off of one another.
As previously mentioned, though some tracks are better than others, the main problem I have with 'Dark City' lies with its hooks. 'Still' with Sichuan is probably the most clear example of this, though it's obviously well thought out, it doesn't work for me. 'Vancoo' is another example. The chanted hook felt somewhat annoying.
'Dark City' is definitely a good showcase of Jeff's production and musical performance skills, though the hooks draw down the quality of some of the tracks, ignoring that, 'Dark City' is worth giving a spin or several.